There is nothing surprising in Boris Johnson saying that it would be difficult for the UK not to join US military action in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in response to a chemical weapons attack. Since the Second World War British governments have been trying to strengthen the UK’s status as the most important military ally of the US.
Britain’s departure from a major alliance like the EU, and likely confrontation with it over the terms of Brexit, is bound to make Britain less of a power in the world. It therefore needs to foster closer relations with Trump’s America along with an unsavoury list of countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
The danger facing Britain is that so much of its foreign policy is based on wishful thinking and fantasy. This was true in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya after 2001 and is true again in Syria today. What is the purpose of bombing Assad? Is it to deter him from using chemical weapons, supposing he did, or to weaken and overthrow him? And if he is overthrown what is to prevent his regime being replaced by Isis and al-Qaeda-type groups who wholly dominate the armed opposition in Syria.